Sundays In Bed With…Can’t Even by Anne Petersen

The Sundays in Bed With… meme, hosted by Midnight Book Girl, dares to ask what book has been in your bed this morning. Come share what book you’ve spent time curled up reading in bed, or which book you wish you had time to read today!

Can’t Even: How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation by Anne Petersen

Can't Even by Anne Helen Petersen

This book has been on my TBR for a while now. I wouldn’t say I personally feel burnt out right now. But I’m curious about what this has to say about my generation and why we feel this way. I have no expectations going in to this read except that I hope to learn something new. I’ve been a little busy the past few days preparing for Thanksgiving and also starting my second BBNYA assignment. So, I haven’t made a ton of progress yet. But it is my side read, so that’s ok. This book hit shelves about six months after the pandemic “shut down” the U.S. So while it’s not fully written under that context, the author was able to acknowledge its occurrence in the foreword.

About the Book

Author: Anne Helen Petersen
Series: None
Age Category: Adult
Publisher: Dey Street Books
Publish Date: September 22, 2020
Print Length: 304

An incendiary examination of burnout in millennials–the cultural shifts that got us here, the pressures that sustain it, and the need for drastic change.

Do you feel like your life is an endless to-do list? Do you find yourself mindlessly scrolling through Instagram because you’re too exhausted to pick up a book? Are you mired in debt, or feel like you work all the time, or feel pressure to take whatever gives you joy and turn it into a monetizable hustle? Welcome to burnout culture.

While burnout may seem like the default setting for the modern era, in Can’t Even, BuzzFeed culture writer and former academic Anne Helen Petersen argues that burnout is a definitional condition for the millennial generation, born out of distrust in the institutions that have failed us, the unrealistic expectations of the modern workplace, and a sharp uptick in anxiety and hopelessness exacerbated by the constant pressure to “perform” our lives online. The genesis for the book is Petersen’s viral BuzzFeed article on the topic, which has amassed over seven million reads since its publication in January 2019.

Can’t Even goes beyond the original article, as Petersen examines how millennials have arrived at this point of burnout (think: unchecked capitalism and changing labor laws) and examines the phenomenon through a variety of lenses–including how burnout affects the way we work, parent, and socialize–describing its resonance in alarming familiarity. Utilizing a combination of sociohistorical framework, original interviews, and detailed analysis, Can’t Even offers a galvanizing, intimate, and ultimately redemptive look at the lives of this much-maligned generation, and will be required reading for both millennials and the parents and employers trying to understand them.

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